DID THE FIRST RAIN CAUSE YOUR AUTO ACCIDENT?
Last week I wrote about the CV weather predictions for rain, which means the road will be slippery and auto accidents will follow. I spoke about the 12 factors necessary to increase the value of your accident claim in order to be fairly compensated by the insurance company. I herein share that information.
1. Stop, take pictures, and gather info at the scene:
The law requires everyone in an auto accident to stop and exchange information. Cell phone pictures of both cars and all occupants will help to establish causation and the severity of the accident. Get cell videos and statements from all parties and witnesses, before they talk to their insurance company or lawyer and revise what happened.
2. Call the police even when there are no apparent injuries:
The police report will provide information on all parties, witnesses and liability showing who was at fault. You are not a lawyer or doctor, so do not admit fault or the lack of injuries.
3. Do NOT give a statement:
A statement is evidence, so get your lawyers permission first. If the other driver is uninsured or lacks adequate insurance, then your insurance company will pay under UM, but defend as if they are the insurance company for the other driver.
TAKE DOWN YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA. Insurance companies watch your Facebook and Twitter posts which may show you playing sports, talking about the accident or on a vacation. These arguably suggest you are OK or not getting medical treatment. In addition though you told the doctor you could not sit for long you did for the trip and you were able to lift luggage etc.
4. Get medical treatment asap:
Many Victims do not realize the severity of their injury and do not seek immediate treatment. Later they realize the pain they are experiencing is accident related. Some victims do not take an ambulance because they have to pick up their kids or because they are concerned about the hospital and ambulance costs. Absent immediate medical treatment, insurance companies argue if the victim was really injured they would have sought immediate medical treatment.
5. Do NOT give your medical providers medical insurance/Medicare/Medicaid information:
Once Medicare/Medi-Cal is notified it takes 6-12 months to get them to respond to lien payment information...without which the case will not be settled. New laws limit what bills we can present to the jury as out of pocket costs for which the client is responsible.
6. Contact a Lawyer immediately:
If not represented, the insurance company can contact you and get a statement. Your lawyer will never know what you said or "what the adjuster/investigator thought he heard you say".
7. Your lawyer will get you medical care on a lien:
Many doctors don't know how to prepare a med/legal report which is essential for obtaining the full value of your case. For years I lectured on How to Write a Medical/Legal Report to the International College of Surgeons at their yearly conferences. The doctor's report is almost as important as the injuries the doctor wrote down.
Physical Therapy: A family doctor often suggests you go home, take a hot bath and aspirin then returning in a month. Lawyers should urge clients to list all injuries from top to bottom and take that to each doctor's appointment.
8. Use your lawyer's body shop:
Insurance companies recommend body shops with whom they have a working relationship and who agree to keep the damage estimates low. When settling the case, the adjuster argues that since the PD was low, how could you be injured. The last thing a lawyer wants is for his client to get his friend to fix the car cheaply.
9. Purchase high insurance limits:
Many CV neighbors have no insurance or inadequate limits. If so we make an uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage claim with your carrier.
10. Purchase Medical Payments coverage:
Irrespective of fault you can present a claim under the med pay section of your policy to pay your medical bills.
11. Follow your lawyers' instructions:
Agree to go to trial when necessary to maximize the value of your case.
12. Do not sign anything:
It could be a release or authorization to obtain your medical records. Do not trust the adjuster who says "if you have further problems they will take care of it".
My practice is focused on people and protecting their consumer rights. We deliver results not false promises and get top dollar on our cases. When the case is successfully concluded, our clients tell us we were courteous, professional, and caring, and that we "DID TURN WRONGS INTO RIGHTS".